ChromaDex, Elysium lock horns over outcome of appeals court decision on nicotinamide riboside patents

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

ChromaDex's Tru Niagen ingredient acts as an NAD+ precursor in the cell's energy machinery. Getty Images / Sinhyu
ChromaDex's Tru Niagen ingredient acts as an NAD+ precursor in the cell's energy machinery. Getty Images / Sinhyu

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Ingredient developer ChromaDex Corp. and former customer Elysium Health have taken sharply differing views of the import of a recent appeals court decision regarding ChromaDex's patents on its nicotinamide riboside ingredient.

ChromaDex chose to emphasize the outcome in which the court rejected Elysium’s challenge to the validity of US Patent No. 8,383,086 ("the ’086 patent"), upholding the decision of the US Patent & Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB"). ChromaDex has licensed the patent rights on isolated nicotinamide riboside (NR) from the Trustees of Dartmouth College.  ChromaDex markets the ingredient as Tru Niagen.

Elysium, however, had a different point of view.  "We are pleased that the Patent Office’s decision invalidating four out of five claims in the ChromaDex patent at issue in the Federal Circuit appeal is now final. The invalidity and noninfringement of the remaining patent claim will be litigated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, and Elysium Health will continue to defend itself against ChromaDex’s meritless infringement claims,"​ the company said in a statement.

Anti aging positioning

ChromaDex has been developing the ingredient over a number of years. The company boasts numerous university research collaborations on the ingredient, which is a NAD+ precursor, and thus part of the energy machinery of cells.  It gives the ingredient a strong anti aging positioning, as degradation of the NAD+ pathway is seen as one of mechanisms of cellular senescence.

Elysium Health is a dietary supplement manufacturer founded in 2014.  One of the founders is noted anti aging researcher and MIT professor Leonard Guarente, PhD. Elysium at first used ChromaDex’s ingredient in its Basis dietary supplement.  But that relationship unraveled, and the current legal battle began in 2018.  With its blizzard of claims and counterclaims it is now starting to resemble the  ‘krill wars’ patent fight that wracked the krill oil supplement sector for much of the past decade.

A fight on three fronts

In September of 2018, ChromaDex and Dartmouth filed suit against Elysium in a Delaware court alleging patent infringement. According to ChromaDex, that suit has been scheduled for trial on September 27, 2021, with a pretrials hearing scheduled for December 17, 2020.

ChromaDex’s breach of complaint suit against Elysium filed in a California court has been vacated, but further discovery continues in that case. And ChromaDex says the discovery process in an unfair trade practices suit that ChromaDex filed against Elysium in a New York court has been extended by four months.

"If you want to be in the business of nicotinamide riboside, there is only one provider of patented, consistently safe and regulatory approved product—and that is ChromaDex,"​ said ChromaDex CEO Rob Fried.

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